Doubts Grow In Egypt as Former President Heads to Trial

Adanna Uwazurike August 01, 2011

Doubts Grow In Egypt as Former President Heads to TrialFormer President Hosni Mubarak is officially scheduled to go to trial in less than a week on charges that could carry the death penalty. But the question preoccupying Cairo right now is not whether he will be found guilty, but what will happen when his trial is almost certainly postponed?

Setting the trial date, activists say, was just an element of political theater, part of the ritual of superficial concessions that the military-led transitional government has made after each big new demonstration in Tahrir Square.

“The signs show that there is no intention to try him,” said Mahmoud el-Khodeiry, a former senior judge who a few months ago participated in a mock trial of Mr. Mubarak in the square. Many protestors are already planning demonstrations on August 5, in Sharm el Sheikh, where Mr. Mubarak is under guard at a hospital. He has remained in a hospital since he complained of heart pains during his initial interrogation. Government officials have deemed his health too delicate for incarceration.

As the scheduled trial date has drawn near, his lawyer, Farid el-Deeb, has twice raised alarms about other maladies that might keep Mr. Mubarak from trial, including a recurrence of cancer and a stroke-induced coma, although doctors speaking in the official media have denied both reports.

Sayed Salmony, 26, is an informal master of ceremonies in Tahrir who leads chants demanding the trial. Salmony, who helps lead the demonstrations, said he believed that protest leaders would escalate “civil disobedience” only gradually, for fear of alienating the public. “Right now people don’t trust the government,” he said, “and they don’t trust us, either.”
 

Last Edited by: Updated: June 19, 2018

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